Drinking Horns

4 Ways to Seal a Horn

Introduction

Do you have a horn that you received unsealed? Or has your sealant worn off over time and you cannot remember how to reapply it? Never fear! In this article we will go over the four ways to seal your horn and the pros and cons of each.

Are you in the market to buy a drinking horn? We recommend reading our Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Drinking Horns and learn more about all of your options!

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Option One: Beer or Hard Liquor

picture of a bottle and glass of beer

Your first option for sealing a horn is with either a dark beer or with a clear high proof liquor. While this is one of the cheapest and easiest options it has a number of downsides. It can contain gluten if you use beer which could effect someone with celiac if you are sealing for another person. Also, this is one of the quickest seals to wear off and we would recommend refreshing it at least once a month before planned use, and more often if you regularly use your horn.

This seal should be used for cold beverages only and you should never drink anything warm for a horn sealed with beer or liquor.

Method

You Will Need:

Dark Beer or Clear Liquor enough to fill to the Brim

Your Horn

Steps:

  1. Fill your horn to the brim with either dark beer or clear liquor the higher the proof the better.
  2. Let your horn sit full of liquid for at least one week.
  3. Reapply as needed. In general this should be done at least once a month and more often with frequent use.

Pros:

Reduction in off flavors

Easy to do

Cons:

Potential issues with gluten

Staining of the Horns

Makes everything taste like beer.

Will need reapplication every month or so.

Cold beverages ONLY

Option Two: Beeswax

picture of beeswax

Beeswax is another fairly easy solution to an unsealed horn. However, there are safety precautions that must be followed as overheated wax can be a fire hazard. This sealing technique is one that will need reapplication about as often as the beer seal, though with a thick layer of beeswax it is possible that it can last a little longer.

This technique should be used with cold beverages ONLY. Hot beverages will strip off the finish and cause off smells and flavors to come from your horn.

Method

You Will Need:

A double boiler set up (a glass or metal bowl that sits on top of a saucepan will work just fine)

1-3 ounces of beeswax depending on the size of your horn

Method:

  1. Place an inch of water in the bottom of your double boiler set up and place the bowel on top making sure that the bowl does not touch the water.
  2. Place your block of beeswax in the bowl and allow it to melt.
  3. Once the beeswax is melted carefully pour it into your horn swirling it around to make sure all of the inside is covered
  4. Hang horn upside down preferably over parchment paper to catch any dripping wax for reuse.
  5. Add additional layers until you reach your preferred thickness.
  6. Clean your wax covered tools immediately. Dry wax is almost impossible to clean from any surface. Especially plastic.

 

Pros:

All natural sustainable sealant

Reduction in horn off flavors

Cons:

Cold drinks ONLY

Reapply every month or two.

Option Three: Salad Bowl Finish

can of salad bowl finish

Salad bowl finish is a type of thin liquid resin that will create a barrier between the horn and your liquid. It can be purchased in almost any home improvement or wood store.

Unlike the previous finishes this finish will work well for hot beverages. We recommend applying a new seal to your horn once a year as it will wear off with time.

Method

You Will Need:

A can of salad bowl finish

Avery cheap store made foam bottle brush

A place to hang your horn

 

Method:

  1. Open your can of salad bowl finish
  2. Dip your foam bottle brush into the can making sure to load it fully.
  3. Wipe the inside of the horn with the bottle brush being sure to cover every surface.
  4. Hang to dry for at least 12 hours. Allow 24 hours to fully cure.
  5. Reapply once a year.

Pros:

No off flavors

Good for hot or cold beverages

Cons:

Increased pricing

Wears off after a year of use and should be checked for wear

Will need reapplying

Option Four: Food Grade Epoxy

picture of food grade epoxy

Food grade epoxy in our opinion is the best option when it comes to sealing a drinking horn. The trade offs for this is that it is complicated to apply, and the most expensive sealing option.

This finish will never wear off and is good for ANY TEMPERATURE of beverage.

Method

You Will Need:

A box of two part food grade epoxy

A disposable cup to mix it in

Disposable material that you can hang your horn over

A place to hang your horn

Method:

  1. Open the box and determine which bottle is part A and B.
  2. Fill a sink with warm water and place the bottles into the sink.
  3. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to make the epoxy easier to use
  4. Place equal parts A and B into your plastic cup.
  5. Mix thoroughly so that the epoxy activates fully.
  6. Pour or scrape (using one of the provided Popsicle sticks) into your horn.
  7. Make sure that all the surfaces of the horn are covered
  8. Hang the horn to dry on above a surface that is covered with some kind of disposable material. Remember: Anything this stuff gets on it will not come off.
  9. Allow 12 hours to dry, and 24 hours to cure fully.

 

Pros:

Good for hot or cold beverages

Never wears off or needs reapplication

Creates a barrier inside the horn that keeps beverages away from the horn material.

Cons:

Increase in price due to cost and labor involved.

Final Thoughts

While there are pros and cons to all sealing options for your horn. You should definitely seal your horn with something before use. Drinking out of a raw horn may give you a more authentic experience, but its not one that the majority of people enjoy, and especially if you are home brewing the beverages you drink out of your horn you want the best experience possible.

Here at Viking & Weaver we prefer to use food grade epoxy sealed horns and if the process is more than you want to undertake you can buy one form our store here.

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